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Before You Now featured in Artillery Gallery Rounds

“Before You Now” features work by 56 artists who employ photography, prints, drawings, installations and video to depict themselves, their identities and, especially, their artistic perspectives. Rather than creating traditional self-portraits, these symbolic, conceptual and occasionally humorous images express the artists’ deeper personas.

The artists whose self-portraits are displayed range from the relatively unknown to superstars. The latter include Diane Arbus, whose photograph Self-portrait in mirror (1945), taken when she was 22, beautiful and shapely, is a nude depiction of her with a soulful expression, holding onto a large camera. The photo reflects the artist’s lifetime of documentary-style work, in which she confronted and exposed the deeper nature of her subjects, many of them living complicated lives, as Arbus did.

Diane Arbus, "Self-portrait in mirror," 1945. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection, © Diane Arbus Estate. photo © Museum Associates/LACMA.

Before You Now: Capturing the Self in Portraiture

Before You Now focuses on the enduring theme of the artist's self-portrait, as seen in a selection of works from LACMA’s collections of photographs, prints, drawings, videos, and installation art. Primarily featuring contemporary makers, the exhibition is an introduction to seeing American artists as they see themselves—or as they want to be seen by their public. They are shown contemplating their physicality in realistic fashion, highlighting their persona through symbolic tropes, or utilizing humor or conceptual methods to enlighten, exaggerate, or camouflage their reflective selves. Over 50 artists—including Laura Aguilar, Kwame Brathwaite, Kalli Arte Collective, Roger Shimomura, Cindy Sherman, Rodrigo Valenzuela, June Wayne, and Jessica Wimbley—display an ongoing fascination with, or return to, the self-portrait. Before You Now aims to broaden the topic to include many whose practice leans into an autobiographical narrative, and explores artists who are adding to and redefining our culture by expanding on ideas of identity.

Riverside Art Museum: Apr 6–Aug 11, 2024  3425 Mission Inn Ave. Riverside, CA, 92501

Ticket information

California State University, Northridge: Aug 31–Dec 7, 2024

Lancaster Museum of Art and History: Jan 25–Apr 13, 2025

Vincent Price Art Museum: Jul 12–Sep 20, 2025

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